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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Seahawks vs. Chiefs: National media on what went wrong, Seattle’s playoff hopes

Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse breaks free for a long reception against the Kansas City Chiefs' Ron Parker in the first half. John Lok / Seattle  Times staff

Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse breaks free for a long reception against the Kansas City Chiefs’ Ron Parker in the first half.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

The Super Bowl jinx, and the Seahawks dwindling playoff hopes.

Jamaal Charles’ breakout performance, and the Chiefs taking the lead in the AFC West.

How Marshawn Lynch spent halftime and his future in Seattle.

Those are some of the many interesting themes that emerged from media coverage of the Seahawks’ 24-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s a roundup of stories national media and major newspapers.

“WEEK 11: STANDING TALL IN NFC”

By John Clayton, ESPN.com

Seahawks learning about Super Bowl jinx: Even though the Seattle Seahawks were considered the league’s No. 1 team entering the season, they haven’t been able to escape the Super Bowl jinx. Four of the past eight Super Bowl winners didn’t make the playoffs the following season. No team has won a playoff game in the season after winning the Super Bowl since the New England Patriots in 2004. Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Chiefs didn’t kill the Seahawks’ chances of repeating, but the odds are starting to stack up against them.

The past eight days illustrate the bad things that happen to Super Bowl teams. Last Sunday, the Seahawks lost their best run-stopper, defensive tackle Brandon MeBane. Without him, the Chiefs rushed for 190 yards on 30 plays and scored three touchdowns on the ground. Tight end Zach Miller had to go on injured reserve during the week. With 8:25 left in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks driving to take a lead, Max Unger, one of the best centers in the league, suffered a high-ankle sprain and a knee injury. The loss of Unger forced the Seahawks to put Patrick Lewis, signed off the street a couple weeks ago, at center.

All of a sudden, the league’s best running offense started running amok. Quarterback Russell Wilson had to use extra hand motions to try to get the new center to get him shotgun snaps because Lewis had difficulty with the Arrowhead Stadium noise. On one play near the goal line, Wilson had to physically move recently signed tight end Tony Moeaki from the right side to the left side before the snap. Minus Unger, the Seahawks gained only 32 yards on their last 13 plays and were stopped four times on fourth down.

At 6-4, the Seahawks may not have enough gas to catch up to the Cardinals for the NFC West title. With the league’s toughest closing schedule, the best the Seahawks might do is get to 10 wins. With the roster wearing down, the Seahawks have to worry about just making the playoffs instead of getting back to the Super Bowl.

“THE PERFECT PATRIOT”

By Peter King, SI.com

With Kansas City up 24-20 and Seattle facing a fourth-and-one at the Chiefs’ 36 with 3:38 left in the game, Seattle lined up in a power formation, with Marshawn Lynch set back behind Russell Wilson. Everyone knew what was coming: Lynch up the gut. Dontari Poe lined up over the center for Kansas City, with Bailey to his immediate right. At the snap, Bailey caved in his man, ruining the push Seattle hoped to create for Lynch. Bailey corralled Lynch around the neck, and with four of his mates, stopped Lynch for no gain. Arrowhead went nuts. (Does it ever not go nuts?) Seattle had one more chance but never got past its own 28, and Kansas City had a very big win.

The Chiefs are not going to win many shootouts; Alex Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver yet this year. But they won’t play in many shootouts if this defense keeps playing with the disruptive force it has shown over the last month. Three times in the last eight minutes Sunday, Kansas City stopped Seattle on a fourth down, twice on the Chiefs’ side of the field. That’s championship defense.

“Our saying is, ‘Deny it to the end,’ ” Bailey said from Kansas City after beating the defending Super Bowl champs. “That’s what we did today. Marshawn Lynch is a load, a great, great back. You’ve got to bring everything you have against him, because there will be big collisions.” …

Marshawn Lynch might get fined $100,000 by the league, or he might not. Two years ago, because he refused to talk to the press in violation of league-mandated duties, Lynch was fined $20,000. Last year, he repeated his press boycott and was fined $50,000 more; but that fine was held in abeyance upon appeal, and Lynch was told it would be collected and another $50,000 would be added if he had any further violations. He refused to talk to the media Sunday after Seattle’s loss in Kansas City—but when he left the building, he called two media members, former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson and Mike Silver of NFL Network. Lynch thinks that level of media cooperation should suffice. The league will decide if it does. It shouldn’t, of course.

“MARSHAWN LYNCH EXPRESSES FRUSTRATION IN LOSS”

By Michael Silver, NFL.com

The defeat dropped Seattle to 6-4, three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, and a game behind the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles in the race for two wild-card spots. Lynch, however, remained optimistic that the Seahawks can compete for another Super Bowl.

Marshawn Lynch, right, is brought down by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines in the  the second half.  John Lok / Seattle Times staff

Marshawn Lynch, right, is brought down by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines in the the second half.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

“I don’t think there’s any problem with what we’ve got going on,” he said. “We’ve just gotta let it fall and keep fighting. We’ve got a lot of ball to go. These are challenges for us. That’s one thing we have been good at, facing the challenges. I think it can be accomplished.”

When asked if the Seahawks were a “championship team,” Lynch became animated.

“Is this a championship team? Yeah, yeah, we’ve got the heart of a champion,” he said. “When you’ve got players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor — you’re about to make me name the whole damn roster — aand there’s some young guys whose names a lot of people don’t know who bring a lot of fight. I always look at the best of our team. So … hell yeah. I would have to be a fool to say no.”

“WEEK 11 SNAPS: FALCONS PULL AHEAD IN PUNCHLESS NFC SOUTH WITH UGLY WIN”

By Don Banks, SI.com

The Seahawks now have a battle on their hands just to stay in the upper half of the NFC West. Seattle and San Francisco are both 6-4 and still play twice, in Weeks 13 and 15. Two more tough games await against the first-place Arizona Cardinals, and there’s also a cross-country trip to Philadelphia in Week 14.

With five of its six NFC West games remaining,​ Seattle isn’t dead in the division race, but Arizona looks to be in a commanding position to close things out with a three-game lead and just six weeks left. That means if the Seahawks make the playoffs, they’ll be hitting the road, where they are just 2-3 this season.

The worst development for Seattle was seeing Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles shred the defense for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts. Seattle clearly does not impose its will on opposing offenses this season, and the Chiefs’ two drives of at least 80 yards in the first half showed how much they dominated the line of scrimmage.

– I’m with you, Doug Baldwin. That was a no-brainer of a push-in-the-back pass interference in the end zone by Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith on 4th-and-2 in the fourth quarter. But no flag was thrown, and Seattle didn’t overcome that blown call, which came with Kansas City leading 24-20. If the Saints’ Jimmy Graham pushed off last week on that final play in regulation against San Francisco — and he did — then Smith pushed every bit as much and got away with it.

“NFL WEEK 11 OBSERVATIONS: RYAN MALLETT SAVES TEXANS’ SEASON”

By Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com

I’m officially worried about the Seattle Seahawks now. I wasn’t going to get caught up in all the post-Percy Harvin drama or the mumbo-jumbo about Marshawn Lynch, but after Sunday’s loss, and the loss of star center Max Unger in particular, I’m not sure the Super Bowl champs make it back to postseason.

Who cares what comes out of Lynch’s mouth or if he talks to the media and all of that. It was all of the medical attention he needed Sunday, clearly in great pain, as the Chiefs tried to gang tackle him, and his body seemed to be giving way to the pounding and his mounting injuries. As he goes, so goes that offense, and once Unger went down the entire tenor of this game changed.

Seattle’s offensive line has been beset by injuries and losing Unger for any extended period of time – he was carted off to the locker room, diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain and a knee ligament sprain and left the stadium on crutches – would be a devastating blow. Too much running from quarterback Russell Wilson has already been required for them to string together a few wins, and with the interior of their offensive line now under assault as well, it’s going to be hard to sustain much on offense.

The Seahawks still have two games against NFC West leading Arizona to play, and not that there is any shame in losing at Kansas City to a very good team, but the way the Chiefs ran over this Seattle defense in the run game – low leaky from the loss of Brandon Mebane to a season-ending injury – on a day when Alex Smith only threw for like 100 yards does not portend great things down the stretch.

“TEAM BY TEAM NFL GRADES WEEK 11: CAN CHIEFS WIN AFC WEST?”

By John Breech, CBSSports.com

Well, after Sunday’s win over the Seahawks, it’s time to take the Chiefs seriously because they are beating good teams and they’re not just beating them, they’re dominating.

Of Kansas City’s seven wins this year, four of them have come against teams with a winning record. Those games include wins over the Dolphins, Patriots, Chargers and Seahawks.

You probably remember the Patriots game, that’s the one where the Chiefs made Tom Brady look so bad that people were saying he should retire after Kansas City’s 41-14 Week 4 win. However, the Chiefs didn’t get a lot of credit for the win because most people chalked it up to a bad game by Brady. Maybe Brady was horrible because the Chiefs are actually good.

The win over the Seahawks might be even bigger for the Chiefs though because no one’s going to accuse the Seahawks of playing bad. Seattle actually played a good game.

The Chiefs went toe-to-toe against the defending Super Bowl champions and they did it without Alex Smith, who was efficient, but not really needed thanks to 178 total yards from Jamaal Charles.

“SORTING THE SUNDAY PILE: WEEK 11 WAS A BAD DAY FOR THE MANNINGS”

By Will Brinson, CBSSports.com

KC Remains Relevant

Kudos to Andy Reid for keeping the Chiefs in the AFC West hunt this year. They lost a lot of personnel this offseason, including several offensive linemen and could’ve slid back to the pack. Instead, the Chiefs are one of the rare teams in a good spot this late in the season while also knowing their identity.

They’re not an explosive offensive team and I’m not sure you want to back them in a huge game in January, but they don’t make mistakes (less than a turnover a game), they run the ball exceptionally well (141 yards a game) and play impressive defense.

Jamaal Charles is just a special player and Andy Reid’s taking advantage of his skills by putting him positions to rip off big runs and occasionally getting a little creative.

“HOW THE CHIEFS WON BY BEING TOUGHER THAN THE NFL TOUGHEST TEAM”

By Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star

Toughness in football is like a bank account on Wall Street. This is how everything is measured, how ultracompetitive men determine success and shame. And you should know that the Chiefs spent a decent chunk of last week manufacturing a useful rage about the Seahawks coming to Arrowhead Stadium with the reputation of being the NFL’s toughest team.

So you know that no matter the company line about there still being six games (plus the playoffs?) left, the Chiefs will remember this 24-20 win over the defending Super Bowl champions as one of their best days regardless of what happens from here on out.

“JAMAAL CHARLES BEATS SEAHAWKS’ ‘BEAST’ AT HIS OWN GAME”

By Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star

All week long, all Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles heard was how unstoppable Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch was.

Charles wasn’t in position to tackle Lynch on Sunday, but he still beat the Beast Mode.

Charles carried 20 times for 159 yards — his most in a game since late in the 2012 season — and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 24-20 victory over the Super Bowl champion Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium.

“He’s the best running back in the NFL,” said Chiefs right tackle Ryan Harris. “Every person on this team will take Jamaal every time.”

“CHIEFS BEAT SUPER BOWL CHAMPION SEAHAWKS 24-20, MOVE  INTO TIE FOR AFC WEST LEAD”

By Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star

There was no mistaking what was on the line on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were on the move. Across the state, the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos were on the ropes.

As the Chiefs stopped Seattle on fourth and 1 at the Kansas City 36, preserving a 24-20 victory, another score popped up on the video board: St. Louis 22, Denver 7.

Just like that, the Chiefs took their place among the NFL elite.

Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali sacks Russell Wilson in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. John Lok / Seattle Times staff

Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali sacks Russell Wilson in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

“CHIEFS MAKE LOUD STATEMENT WITH VICTORY OVER SEAHAWKS”

By Adam Teicher, ESPN.com

The official line from the Kansas City Chiefs was they were just trying to win another game, but they weren’t fooling anyone. Measuring sticks come in different sizes, and they don’t come much bigger than the challenge offered Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks, the defending Super Bowl champions.

“It was a little bit of a see-where-you’re at,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “We as a group, collectively, kind of answered that a little bit.”

“THREE STRIKES AND OUT FOR SEAHAWKS ON FOURTH DOWN”

By Terry Blount, ESPN.com

The Seattle Seahawks gambled and lost. Three times in the fourth quarter while trailing by four points, the Seahawks rolled the dice and went for it on fourth down. And they failed all three times.

Had they converted any of those chances, maybe things would have turned out differently instead of a 24-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Minnesota Vikings last season were the last team to go 0-for-3 by going for it on every fourth-down attempt in the fourth quarter. It was a 23-7 loss to the New York Giants in a Monday night game on Oct. 21, 2013.

 

“NFL PLAYOFFS PICTURE: SEAHAWKS ON OUTSIDE LOOKING IN”

By Steven Ruiz, USA Today

The defending Super Bowl champs would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today. And with the toughest remaining schedule in the league, things aren’t looking good for the Seahawks. They’re three games back in the NFC West, and the Cowboys, who currently hold the final playoff spot, hold a tie-breaker over Seattle.

“CHIEFS LOOK PLAYOFF-READY, BEAT SEAHAWKS”

By Chris Korman, USA Today

These two teams are going in opposite directions right now: Kansas City has won seven of its last eight games and appears to have found a formula that can work in the postseason. The Seahawks entered on a three-game winning streak, but those victories came against lousy teams. They’ve made the right choice to turn the offense over to Lynch again, but simply aren’t dynamic enough to beat good teams consistently.

“WEEK 11: SUPERLATIVES: CHARLES PACES STREAKING CHIEFS”

By DOUG FARRAR, SI.com

The Chiefs‘ running back picked a heck of a time to top the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this season. His 159 yards on 22 carries paced Kansas City in a crucial 24-20 win over the defending champion Seahawks.

Charles scored on back-to-back possessions in the first half: a one-yarder to open the scoring, then a 16-yard scamper to hand Kansas City a 14-7 lead. Later, with the Chiefs trailing by three in the fourth quarter, Charles broke free on a 47-yard pickup deep into Seattle territory. Knile Davis scored what would be the game-winning touchdown on the next snap.

All told, Charles averaged 8.0 yards on his 20 carries against a banged-up Seattle defense that looks like a shell of its former self. He also caught two passes for 19 yards, marking his fifth consecutive multi-reception game.

Few players in the NFL are as electrifying as Charles, when he’s healthy.

“THIRTY-SEVEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEEK 11”

GREG ROSENTHAL AND STAFF, NFL.com

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks made it to Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey with the luxury of home-field advantage. Now they both have to worry about winning their divisions. In Seattle’s case, the Seahawks have an uphill battle just to make the playoffs.

Denver’s loss in St. Louis was a result that no one saw coming. New England had the far tougher schedule on paper than the Broncos in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but the Patriots rolled on Indianapolis on Sunday night while Denver lost. Now the Broncos are a game behind the Patriots and the Patriots have the tiebreaker.

Denver still has a trip to Kansas City on the schedule, where the 7-3 Chiefs now have a share of first place in the AFC West. New England is not only 8-2, but they have wins over the other three current division leaders in the AFC: Denver, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The Patriots are now able to win big road games when Tom Brady is not even at his best.

Seattle, meanwhile, is three games back in the NFC West. They will probably have to head out on the road if they even make the playoffs. The Seahawks are 2-3 on the road and simply don’t look like a dominant team on either side of the ball. Kansas City dispatched Seattle despite losing the turnover battle 2-0. The Chiefs have looked like a better team than the Seahawks for more than a month, and showed it Sunday. …

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense remains too reliant on improvised plays. This could have been a blowout if not for Wilson’s incredible escapes from Kansas City’s constant pressure. Seattle is struggling to come up with throws for Wilson in rhythm, and he missed too many throws when they were there.

Seattle’s pass rush didn’t have a single QB hit or sack. We call that a “Gholston.” That stat is largely game-dependent because Alex Smith only had 16 passes, and they were mostly short. But the vaunted Seahawks defensive line isn’t making a big difference anymore.

“CHIEFS AND RAMS SHOW SEAHAWKS AND BRONCOS HOW IT’S DONE IN MISSOURI”

By Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

That Kansas City emerged victorious wasn’t shocking. The Chiefs have won five in a row and were favored by two over the Seahawks, who have shown some vulnerabilities this season.

The Chiefs, the only NFL team that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, turned back the Seahawks on fourth down three times in the final quarter to secure the victory.

Meanwhile, Jamaal Charles trampled the once-airtight Seattle defense, rushing for 159 yards in 20 carries, his most productive game since late in the 2012 season.

“THREE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM KANSAS CITY’S STATEMENT 24-20 WIN”

By Jason Hirschhorn, SB Nation

Brandon Mebane’s injury leaves a major impact on Seattle’s run defense

When the Seahawks learned that massive, block-eating defensive tackle Brandon Mebane would miss the rest of the 2014 season with a torn hamstring, it was safe to assume opposing offensive lines could devote more resources to pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. That held true on Sunday, but Mebane’s loss had a more dramatic impact on the running game.

On the Chiefs’ opening drive alone, they ran at Mebane’s vacated area six times, compiling 31 yards. Without Mebane in the middle forcing runs to the outside, Kansas City had free rein to exploit the middle of the Seattle defense, which has also played without middle linebacker Bobby Wagner for most of the season. Charles had multiple backbreaking runs running up the gut, including a 29-yard burst through the “A” gap. The trend continued throughout the game, with Davis exploiting Seattle’s run defense for a score of his own in the fourth quarter.

As the Seahawks‘ bus headed toward the Kansas City airport, Lynch gave a final thought: “The main thing I just want to be communicated is that we played a hard-fought game, and it didn’t go our way. Everything else, you just let it fall into place.”

“CHIEFS HANG ON FOR 24-20 WIN OVER SEAHAWKS”

By Dave Skretta, The Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs just may be the quintessential throwback team, built on foundations of a strong running game and an impenetrable defense.

They won a quintessential throwback game on Sunday.

Jamaal Charles ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and the Chiefs shut down the Seattle Seahawks three times in the final quarter, preserving a 24-20 victory that moved them into a tie with the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West.

“NFL MORNING AFTER NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING IN THE NFL”

By Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk/NBCSports.com

When the Seahawks blew out the Packers in Week One, I knew Seattle was the best team in the NFL.

When the Chiefs got blown out by the Titans in Week One, I knew Kansas City wasn’t going anywhere this year.

When the Broncos beat the Colts in Week One, I knew Denver was still the class of the AFC.

And when the Rams got blown out by the Vikings in Week One, I knew the Rams were one of the worst teams in the league.

Welcome to the NFL, where no one knows anything.

It can be the most maddening thing about the NFL, but I also think it’s the best thing about the NFL: The sheer unpredictability of it all makes it impossible to say with any degree of certainty what’s going to happen on any given Sunday, and that keeps us tuning in every Sunday. On this particular Sunday, the Seahawks lost to the Chiefs and the Broncos lost to the Rams. If I’d told you that would happen after Week One, you’d have said I was crazy.

“CHIEFS IMPROVE TO 7-3 WITH VICTORY OVER SEAHAWKS”

By Josh Allper, Pro Football Talk/NBCSports.com

The Chiefs Defense came into Sunday’s game with the Seahawks without a rushing touchdown allowed during the 2014 season.

They’re leaving the game the same way and it’s a big reason why they were 24-20 winners at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. The Chiefs stoned Marshawn Lynch on the goal-line in the fourth quarter to keep their lead intact and then came up with another fourth-down stop a bit later in the quarter and a Dontari Poe sack in the final seconds to put the final touches on their seventh victory of the season.

“NFL WINNERS AND LOSERS: THE NFC WEST HAS BEEN DECIDED”

By Frank Schwab, Yahoo.com

Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC West race: The Chiefs are no joke this season. They have not had one bad outcome since Week 1, and after Sunday the AFC West race is pretty interesting.

The Broncos fell to 7-3 with a bad loss at St. Louis. The Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 in a very entertaining game and are now tied with the Broncos at 7-3. The Chargers are lurking at 6-4 too, but for now let’s talk about the Chiefs. Winning the division isn’t out of the question.

The Chiefs, who have two games left against the 0-10 Oakland Raiders, need to win at home on Nov. 30 against the Broncos. The Chiefs probably couldn’t survive a home loss to the Broncos, which would give Denver the tiebreaker, and win the division. But there’s no reason to believe the Chiefs can’t beat the Broncos at home. Andy Reid is doing a tremendous job with this team, which does two things tremendously well: rush the quarterback, and run the ball. They rode that to a very impressive win against the defending champs on Sunday. The Broncos might need to win at Arrowhead Stadium to avoid being a wild-card team.

“CHIEFS EMERGE AS LEGIT CONTENDERS WITH GUTSY WIN OVER SEAHAWKS”

By Eric Edhold, Yahoo.com

Two key fourth-down stops.

We might look back at this Kansas City Chiefs 24-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and credit two fourth-quarter, fourth-down stops as the point at which the Chiefs became a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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